If you are a gunsmith or work on firearms, you need to read this carefully. The Federal Government, acting through the Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), has imposed significant new burdens on gunsmiths by expanding the definition of “manufacturing”. This is a big deal, as the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and its implementing rules, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), require firearms “manufacturers” to register with DDTC and to pay a registration fee that (for new applicants) is currently $2,250 per year.
Previously, most small gunsmithing operations that did not export firearms were NOT subject to AECA/ITAR registration requirements. Now, by virtue of a DDTC “Guidance” ruling issued 7/22/2016, ordinary gunsmiths might be required to register as a manufacturer simply because they thread a muzzle or cut a chamber.
The NRA-ILA states: “DDTC is labeling commercial gunsmiths as ‘manufacturers’ for performing relatively simple work such as threading a barrel or fabricating a small custom part for an older firearm. Under the AECA, ‘manufacturers’ are required to register with DDTC at significant expense or risk onerous criminal penalties.” Read NRA-ILA Full Report.
Here is the key language in the DDTC’s “ITAR Registration Requirements – Consolidated Guidance” Ruling of 7/22/2016:
2. Registration Required – Manufacturing: In response to questions from persons engaged in the business of gunsmithing, DDTC has found in specific cases that ITAR registration is required because the following activities meet the ordinary, contemporary, common meaning of “manufacturing” and, therefore, constitute “manufacturing” for ITAR purposes:
a) Use of any special tooling or equipment upgrading in order to improve the capability of assembled or repaired firearms;
b) Modifications to a firearm that change round capacity;
c) The production of firearm parts (including, but not limited to, barrels, stocks, cylinders, breech mechanisms, triggers, silencers, or suppressors);
d) The systemized production of ammunition, including the automated loading or reloading of ammunition;
e) The machining or cutting of firearms, e.g., threading of muzzles or muzzle brake installation requiring machining, that results in an enhanced capability;
f) Rechambering firearms through machining, cutting, or drilling;
g) Chambering, cutting, or threading barrel blanks; and
h) Blueprinting firearms by machining the barrel.
Editor’s Comment: Does this mean that any stock-maker or stock supplier is an ITAR “manufacturer” under part 2(c)? Would installing a scope or accessory rail fall under part 2(a) as “equipment upgrading”? Would fluting a barrel be considered “manufacturing” under part 2(h)?
Impact of New Registration Requirements
As the NRA-ILA (Institute for Legislative Action) reads this, gunsmithing shops (even one-man operations) will now be subject to ITAR regulation though they export nothing: “These requirements apply, even if the business does not, and does not intend to, export any defense article. Moreover, under ITAR, ‘only one occasion of manufacturing … a defense article’ is necessary for a commercial entity to be considered ‘engaged in the business’ and therefore subject to the regime’s requirements.”
As a consequence, these new regulations may drive smaller gunsmithing services out of business: “DDTC’s move appears aimed at expanding the regulatory sweep of the AECA/ITAR and culling many smaller commercial gunsmithing operations that do not have the means to pay the annual registration fee or the sophistication to negotiate DDTC’s confusing maze of bureaucracy. [This is] likely to have a significant chilling effect on activity that would not even be considered regulated.”
Statutory Authority for Registration
The AECA’s statutory requirement for firearms manufacturers to register with DDTC is implemented in Part 122 of the ITAR:
§122.1 Registration requirements.
(a) Any person who engages in the United States in the business of manufacturing or exporting or temporarily importing defense articles, or furnishing defense services, is required to register with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls under §122.2. For the purpose of this subchapter, engaging in such a business requires only one occasion of manufacturing or exporting or temporarily importing a defense article or furnishing a defense service. A manufacturer who does not engage in exporting must nevertheless register.
Barrel chambering image from Primal Rights, dealer for Desert Tactical Arms.
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Earlier this week, on July 27th, the CMP held the 2016 Vintage Sniper Rifle Match at Camp Perry. This unique event is a two-man team competition using scoped rifles of WWI and WWII Vintage. This has become of of the most popular rifle matches held at Perry, with 259 teams competing this summer. Many competitors use some version of the M1903 Springfield, but you’ll also see scoped M1 Garands, K31s, Mausers, and even a Lee-Enfield or two. (Semi-Auto shooters are scored separately). This year the Vintage Sniper Match was won by the “Yogi & BooBoo” family team of Silas Fentress and Wesley Fentress, with a 396-13X score. Close behind was runner-up duo Donald Schedler and John Watson (394-13X). Winning the semi-auto division were Brian Dobish and Clayton Maugans (373-8X).
Two-person teams will fire 10 rounds in 20-second intervals from scoped vintage military rifles set on sand bags. One team marksman shoots from the prone position at 300 and 600 yards, while the other serves as a spotter to relay shot position. Marksman and spotter switch positions on the firing lines, allowing each teammate to play both roles. Scores are then combined for an Aggregate team total.
Two M1 Garands, fitted with scopes and lace-on cheekpads.
Who can identify this rifle, with its unusual scope mount?
Our friends at Criterion Barrels have written an interesting article about the 2014 Vintage Sniper Rifle Match. It you want an “insider’s perspective” on the 2014 Match, plus Vintage Sniper gunsmithing tips, read this article. Here are some highlights:
About the Match and the Rifles
The Vintage Sniper Match was the brainchild of Hornady’s Dave Emary. The competition was inspired by his father, a World War II scout sniper, who carried a rifle similar to the 1903A4 rifle builds that can be found today on the Camp Perry firing line. Bob Schanen worked alongside Dave and the CMP staff in establishing the various competition rules prior to the first official Vintage Sniper Match in 2011. The match developers made a point to offer some level of flexibility in rifle configuration, allowing specific types of non-issue optics and rifle rebuilds. This helped make the match more inclusive.
Hornady’s Dave Emary and “Gunny” R. Lee Ermey (right):
Camp Perry — The Venue
The hallowed grounds of Camp Perry have hosted some of the nation’s finest shooters each summer for more than a century. Some of the world’s greatest marksmen have accomplished remarkable feats on the ranges of this lakeside military outpost. Located on the coast of Lake Erie, Camp Perry is positioned just outside of the scenic town of Port Clinton, Ohio. It is our firm belief that every shooter should make the pilgrimage to the Camp Perry at least once in their lifetime. If not participating in an event, visitors should at least make an attempt to meet the competitors, witness the wide selection of firearms used by participants, and pay a visit to the various vendors on base.
Do you have “fuzzy sight syndrome”? Are you frustrated because you can no longer see both your iron sights and your target sharply? Here’s a product that can help. Lyman’s new EyePal is basically an adaptation of aperture or “peep” sights (sometimes called “diopter sights”). The EyePal works by restricting the viewable image to a small-diameter circle. This improves depth-of-field dramatically, which in turn keeps everything in focus, both sights AND Target. This principle has been used for some time with the Merit adjustable optical disc that attaches to shooting glasses with a rubber cup. The EyePal does much the same thing — for a lot less money.
Simply apply the EyePal to any eyewear and you should see an immediate improvement in focus (both near and far). Lyman explains: “The EyePal provides a small image where everything is in focus. This is particularly useful to shooters who have limited near vision but have good far vision. The EyePal enables you to simultaneously see the target, and iron sights — all in focus.”
How Do EyePals Work?
The EyePal is a modern adaptation of the century-old peep sight, which some folks call a pin-hole sight (remember those pin-hole camera experiments back in school?). The EyePal enables you to simultaneously see the target, your front and rear sights — all in focus.
EyePal stick-on apertures are made of a static cling material. This allows EyePals to be easily placed on safety eyewear and prescription glasses without marring the surface or leaving a residue when removed. EyePals are inexpensive (about $25.00 per set), easy to use, and long-lasting.
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With the Republican (GOP) Convention recently concluded in Cleveland, readers have asked: “What is the official Republican Party position on the Second Amendment and gun rights?” Here is the section of the Republican Platform concerning gun issues, quoted word for word:
The Second Amendment: Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms
We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a natural inalienable right that predates the Constitution and is secured by the Second Amendment. Lawful gun ownership enables Americans to exercise their God-given right of self-defense for the safety of their homes, their loved ones, and their communities.
We salute the Republican Congress for defending the right to keep and bear arms by preventing the President from installing a new liberal majority on the Supreme Court. The confirmation to the Court of additional anti-gun justices would eviscerate the Second Amendment’s fundamental protections. Already, local officials in the nation’s capital and elsewhere are defying the Court’s decisions upholding an individual right to bear arms as affirmed by the Supreme Court in Heller and McDonald. We support firearm reciprocity legislation to recognize the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms to protect themselves and their families in all 50 states. We support constitutional carry statutes and salute the states that have passed them. We oppose ill-conceived laws that would restrict magazine capacity or ban the sale of the most popular and common modern rifle. We also oppose any effort to deprive individuals of their right to keep and bear arms without due process of law.
We condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and the current Administration’s illegal harassment of firearm dealers. We oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners, registration of ammunition, and restoration of the ill-fated Clinton gun ban. We call for a thorough investigation — by a new Republican administration — of the deadly “Fast and Furious” operation perpetrated by Department of Justice officials who approved and allowed illegal sales of
guns to known violent criminals.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) #GUNVOTE program is an important voter registration and education campaign for the November 2016 election. The NSSF’s Gunvote.org website helps visitors register to vote, find a polling place, and determine how candidates stand on gun rights and Second Amendment issues. Quickly find all state and federal candidates in your area with a Zip Code search (or you can search by name). The NSSF’s #GUNVOTE program also provides election news, voter education video resources, and more.
To assist the NSSF’s voter registration and education efforts, Hornady Manufacturing has committed $250,000 in support of #GUNVOTE programs. This is the largest donation the #GUNVOTE campaign has received to date.
“For the first time in our nation’s history, we have a Presidential candidate who is openly running against the lawful commerce in firearms, which is a prerequisite to our ability to exercise our Second Amendment rights,” said Stephen Hornady, President of Hornady Manufacturing. “It is vital that America’s hunters, target shooters and all gun owners become educated on what the candidates are saying and that’s why the #GUNVOTE initiative of our industry is so important. Our company is proud to be a part of this cooperative effort.”
We support the NSSF’s efforts to inform the public and help gun owners register to vote. This is a very important election for firearms owners and supporters of the Second Amendment. As the NSSF explains: “With the balance of the Supreme Court at stake, this election will affect our constitutional rights. It is crucial that all gun owners and Second Amendment supporters register to vote, become informed about candidates’ positions, and on Election Day, #GUNVOTE.”
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The Savage A17 17 HMR rifle was named American Hunter’s 2016 Rifle of the Year. And we understand why. This little rifle is a hoot to shoot. The model we tested proved reliable and quite accurate with the new 17 HMR ammo developed by CCI expressly for the A17. After the first production run Savage made a few tweaks to the A17’s magazine well; this has resulted in very good reliability with current models.
When the A17 was released, a rather whimpy, Tupperware stock was the only option. The Length of Pull (LOP) was a bit short for a full-sized adult and the short, narrow fore-arm was less than ideal when used with a front rest or sandbag. Savage now offers laminated wood stocks from the factory, but most of the A17s that have been sold to date have the black plastic stock. But don’t worry… you can re-stock your A17 for under $130.00.
Now, thanks to Boyds Gunstocks, there are some good, very affordable stock options for the A17. Boyds has introduced Savage A17 replacement gunstocks in multiple styles: Savage Classic, Featherweight Thumbhole, Heritage, Platinum, Prairie Hunter, Pro Varmint, and Varmint Thumbhole designs. Five of these styles are shown in the photos above. Nearly all of Boyd’s laminated wood Savage A17 stocks are just $129.00 with a few left-hand versions priced at $144.00 (still a bargain). For field use, we like the Varmint Thumbhole because it has a comfortable grip and a longer, straight fore-end that works well with either sandbags or bipod. For target work, we favor the Pro Varmint stock. This stock features a relatively straight toe on the buttstock that is very steady on a rear bag.
Boyds plans to offer a variety of options for their Savage A17 stocks. These will include new custom wood options, custom length of pull, and an adjustable comb. In addition, as with other Boyds stocks, a wide selection of laminated wood colors are available. Boyds recently released eight new laminate wood color options including Sage, Prairie Wind, Ripple Timber, Ripple Forest Camo, Ripple Blaze, Ripple Royal Jacaranda, Ripple Sky and Ripple Zombie.
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The NRA High Power Championship cycle commences August 1, 2016. Want to follow the action at the National Matches at Camp Perry? The NRA maintains a webpage with the latest results for all the National rifle and pistol matches at Camp Perry. Click any of the links below to launch a page with match-by-match results. Once you navigate to the appropriate results page, click the particular match title (or 3-digit match number) to open a table with ranked lists of competitors and their scores. For example, the National High Power Rifle Championship is Match number 400.
Tubb 2000 rifle, left-hand version. Note how the butt-plate is adjusted for cant, angle, and drop.
Over $25,000 Worth of Prizes at 2014 NRA Springfield M1A Match
The Springfield M1A Match will be held Sunday, July 31, 2016 (the day after the CMP Garand Match). Sponsored by Springfield Armory, this popular event features big-money payouts and valuable hardware prizes. More than $25,000 in cash and prizes were awarded, with categories for shooters of all skill levels. There was a big turn-out for the event. Competitors were treated to bright, sunny skies yesterday. Here are photos from the match, courtesy NRA General Operations.
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If you haven’t checked out NormaUSA’s website, you should. There you’ll find Norma’s Cartridge of the Month Archive. This great resource provides a detailed history of popular cartridges, along with a discussion of these cartridges’ hunting and target-shooting uses. There are currently 26 Cartridge of the Month articles, the latest featuring the mighty .500/.416 Nitro Express cartridge.
Also on Norma-USA.com you’ll find information on Norma cartridge brass, bullets, powder and factory ammo. The site also offers a video archive plus links to Norma Reloading Data.
A mild cartridge by modern standards, the 6.5×55 has impressive credentials in both the hunting field and in competition. It was developed jointly by Sweden and Norway in 1894 – one of the very first smokeless, small-bore rounds for military rifles. When Sweden boosted 6.5×55 performance in Mausers, Norway stayed with original loads in the less robust Krag. The 6.5×55 defended Scandinavia for most of a century thereafter. In 1990 the National Rifle Association of Denmark, Norway and Sweden renamed this cartridge the 6.5×55 SKAN and standardized its specifications. Still hugely popular among moose hunters there, it has also excelled in 300-meter free-rifle competition.
The long tenure of this cartridge spanned the post-war wildcatting era. Unfortunately for shooters keen to make something new of the 6.5×55 hull, its head diameter is .01 greater than that of the 7×57 (and the .270 and .30-06). The rim is thicker too. At 2.16 inches, cases mike .15 longer than the .308’s and .08 shorter than those of the 7×57 – though as originally loaded, its overall length (3.15 inches) exceeds that of the 7×57. In fact, it falls just 0.1 inch shy of the finished length of the 7mm Remington Magnum! In my view, the 6.5×55 merits at least a mid-length action, such as on Melvin Forbes’s New Ultra Light rifles. Shorter (typical .308-length) actions require deep bullet seating that throttles performance.
You’ll look hard to find a better deer cartridge than the 6.5×55. Francis Sell, woodsman and rifle enthusiast whose book on blacktail deer hunting has no peer, favored the 6.5×55. Hunters coming of age in a magnum culture might question the round’s bona fides on animals as stout as elk and moose. But at modest ranges, with bullets like Norma’s factory-loaded 156-grain Oryx, it’s a sure killer. Modest recoil makes rifles pleasant to fire (read: accurate in hand!) and fast on follow-ups. In Africa the 6.5×55 – and similar 6.5×54 Mannlicher-Schoenauer – felled much bigger game than moose long before anyone necked down the .375 H&H! While its compact case won’t let the Swede match the likes of the .270 ballistically, it is a fine all-around choice for big game in the Lower 48.
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For many Americans, real incomes have stayed flat in recent years, while the true cost of living has risen significantly. Accordingly, it’s important to save money whenever possible. Prices are going up, but wages aren’t following (for most of us). Here are seven ways shooters can save money on gear purchases and other shooting-related expenses.
1. Watch for Our Deals of the Week. Every Monday, in our Daily Bulletin, AccurateShooter.com offers some of the best deals to be found. We search the web to find great deals on ammo, reloading components, optics, tools, firearms, gun safes, electronics and more. It’s not unusual to find savings of 20-35% through our Deals of the Week. And many of our vendors are now offering special deals just for AccurateShooter.com readers.
2. Check Out the Forum Classifieds. There are great deals to be found every day in the AccurateShooter Shooters’ Forum. The latest deals are displayed in the right column of every Forum page. To see all the listings, browse through the Forum MarketPlace section which has four main categories:
Guns, Actions, Stocks, & Barrels
Tools, Dies, Rests, Reloading Components & Misc
Scopes, Optics, Sights, Rings, Bases Etc.
Commercial Sales by Paid Sponsors
3. Use Discount Codes to Save. It’s always smart to check for discount codes before you buy. In the Daily Bulletin, we feature “Deals of the Week” every Monday morning, and we provide discount Coupon Codes when available. These can reduce the price substantially or lower shipping costs. Search codes for Brownells, Sinclair Int’l, Cabela’s, and Amazon.com. Check your email also — some discount codes are only announced in email newsletters. If you can’t find a Coupon Code for your preferred vendor, visit RetailMeNot.com and/or SlickGuns.com. Both those sites list current coupon codes, and RetailMeNot.com covers thousands of vendors.
4. Shop for “Demo” Optics. Modern high-quality optics can easily cost $1500.00 or more, often exceeding the value of the rifle on which they are mounted. However, you can often save 20-30% by purchasing demo optics. These are normally display units used at trade shows. They may have slight ringmarks, but otherwise they are “as new”, having never been carried in the field or used on a rifle that has fired live ammo. When purchasing demo scopes, you should always ask about the warranty before consummating the sale. However, most demo scopes from name-brand manufacturers come with full factory warranties. EuroOptic.com and SWFA.com are two respected vendors that offer a good selection of demo optics.
5. Train with Rimfire Rifles. The true cost of shooting a match-grade centerfire rifle, when you consider barrel wear, approaches $1.00 per round. READ Shooting Cost Article. By contrast, decent .22LR target ammo sells for under $0.19 per round (though it is, admittedly, hard to find right now). Good rimfire barrels last a long, long time, so you don’t have to be concerned about wearing out your barrel quickly. A quality rimfire barrel can retain its accuracy for 7,000 rounds or more. If you run the ballistics, a .22LR round at 100 yards can emulate the wind drift experienced by a centerfire cartridge at long range. This allows for effective cross-training with much less expensive ammo.
6. Take Advantage of Factory Rebates. There are some attractive rebates available right now from quality manufacturers such as Bushnell, Leupold, RCBS, and Zeiss. You have to be a bit wary because rebates are typically used to move less-popular merchandise. But some rebates, such as the RCBS ‘Buy Green, Get Green’ Promo, apply to very wide range of merchandise, so it’s hard to go wrong. Just make sure that, when you buy a product, you retain the sales slip and the original packaging (it’s also wise to print out online orders). To qualify for the rebate, you may need to mail in a product identification code found on the box, along with your original sales receipt.
7. Share a Ride to Matches. Gas prices have fallen dramatically in the past year, but fuel remains a significant part of a shooter’s hobby budget, particularly if you drive long distances to compete at major matches. We’d say 90% of shooters drive solo to matches, often in large, gas-guzzling trucks. If you drive 200 miles round-trip to attend a match in a 20-mpg vehicle, you’ll burn nearly $25.00 worth of gasoline on your trip. That adds up. By simply sharing the ride with one fellow shooter you can cut your fuel expenditures in half. And, if you alternate vehicles from one match to the next, you also save on wear and tear on your own vehicle. At $0.50/mile consider the savings.
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With the price of premium brass topping $1.00 per case for popular match cartridges, it makes sense to consider annealing your brass to extend its useful life. You don’t want to chuck out brass that costs a buck a case (or more)! Forum member Darrell Jones offers a full range of brass prep, brass forming, and brass restoration (annealing, ultra-sonic cleaning) at very affordable prices. Starting at just $20 per 100 cases ($25/100 for magnum cases), Darrell’s company, DJ’s Brass, will anneal your used brass using state-of-the-art Bench-Source annealing machines. Annealing plus ultrasonic cleaning starts at $35 per 100 cases ($45 for magnum cases). For a bit more money Darrell can also uniform the primer pockets and chamfer the case necks.
Custom Neck-Turning Services
Another great service DJ’s Brass provides is precision neck-turning. Darrell can neck-turn any size case to your specified neck-wall thickness. The price starts at $60.00 per hundred for standard cases or $75.00/100 for magnum size with a $25.00 minimum order. And if you’ve got a bucket of brass to neck-turn, that’s fine with Darrell — he recently neck-turned 1500 pieces of brass for one customer!
DJ’s Brass can process everything from .17 Fireball all the way up to the big magnum cases. And the job gets done quickly. Darrell normally offers a 10-day turn-around. For most jobs, Darrell tells us, he gets the processed brass to the Post Office within three business days. For more info, visit DJsBrass.com or call Darrell Jones at 205-461-4680. IMPORTANT: Contact Darrell for shipping instructions BEFORE sending any brass for processing. ALL BRASS MUST BE DE-PRIMED before you send it.
• Anneal Case Necks Only ($20.00/100 normal or $25.00/100 magnum)
• Ultrasonic Cleaning, Check Necks, and Annealing ($35.00/100 normal or $45.00/100 magnum)
• Full Service: Uniform primer pockets, Chamfer case mouths, Ultrasonic cleaning and Polishing, Anneal case necks (Starting at $50.00/100 call for quote)
• Neck Turning or trim-to-length Custom Order Service (Starting at $60.00/100 for standard cases and $75.00/100 for magnums)
• Hydro-Form Specialty cases (such as Dasher) $0.60 (sixty cents) each minimum of 100 pieces plus actual return shipping cost
• Expand Case Necks and Anneal brass (Call for Price)
• Create False Shoulder for Fire-Forming (Call for Price)
• Ultrasonic Cleaning of Muzzle Brake, $5.00 plus actual shipping
Hydro-Forming Cartridge Brass
Hydro-forming by Darrell costs $0.60 per case with a minimum order of 100 pieces. After hydro-forming, Darrell can also neck-turn the case for an additional charge (call for combined quote). In addition to the 6mmBR-based cases shown below, Darrell can now hydro-form 6PPC cases from .220 Russian brass.
With Darrell’s hydro-forming service you don’t have to buy any special dies or other equipment. Darrell says: “Simply send me the brass you need or have it dropped-shipped to me along with a fired case that has not been sized. If you need formed brass for a new build (gun not yet fired), let me know and I will size the brass to fit within .001″ of a PT&G GO gauge.”
DJ’s Brass Offers Specialized Custom Services
Darrell tells us: “At DJ’s Brass, we can handle all your brass refurbishing needs. From ultrasonic cleaning to custom annealing for specific wildcat cartridges. We can expand your necks from .22 caliber to .30 caliber and anneal shoulders for consistent bump-back. We can turn your case-necks and trim the brass to your specs. For some cartridge types, I can pre-form cases to assist in fire-forming a wildcat cartridge. We also remove the carbon build-up in muzzle brakes. Don’t lose your accuracy by having carbon build up and close off the clearance required for the most accurate bullet release through a muzzle brake.” Note: Extra charges apply for neck-turning and neck expansion operations, or specialized cartridge-forming operations. Please call Darrell at 205-461-4680 for special services pricing.
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Here’s big news in the gun industry. In a $95 million cash deal, Smith & Wesson Holding Company (Nasdaq: SWHC) will acquire Crimson Trace Corporation (CTC), the industry leader in firearms laser sights and tactical lighting. Once the acquisition is finalized, CTC will operate as Smith & Wesson’s new Electro-Optics Division, headed by Lane Tobiassen, CTC’s current President and CEO. Jeffrey Buchanan, Executive VP and CFO of Smith & Wesson, stated, “We intend to complete the purchase of Crimson Trace with cash on hand and we expect the transaction to close in three to six weeks.”
This deal makes sense for both parties. In the past 12 months, CTC earned $44 million, with a quarter of that coming from Smith & Wesson. CTC President/CEO Lane Tobiassen will serve as President of S&W’s new Electro-Optics Division. The Crimson Trace management team and workforce, as well as its base of operations, will remain in Wilsonville, Oregon after the acquisition. Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (SWHC) will purchase all of the outstanding stock of Crimson Trace for $95.0 million in cash.
Two Decades of Innovation and Growth for CTC
Founded 22 years ago, Crimson Trace is now the firearms industry leader in laser sighting system and tactical lighting. CTC currently offers more than 225 products, including: Lasergrips®, Laserguard®, Rail Master® platforms, Defender Series®, Lightguard®, and the new LiNQ™ wireless activation system. With its ever-expanding product line, CTC has generated a 10-year compound annual revenue growth rate in excess of 10%.
CTC offers cutting-edge technology, including LiNQ™, the world’s first wirelessly-controlled laser + white light system. LiNQ™ combines a green laser sight and 300-Lumen LED white light for AR-Type Modern Sporting Rifles. The laser and light are controlled wirelessly via handgrip buttons.
Top Crimson Trace and S&W Executives Speak Out:
CTC President/CEO Lane Tobiassen said: “It is a great honor to lead Crimson Trace into this exciting new chapter in our history by joining the Smith & Wesson team. Since 1994, we have designed and brought to market more than 225 products[.] As the new Electro-Optics Division of Smith & Wesson, we believe that our capabilities, combined with inorganic opportunities to acquire related technologies, will expand the reach of our existing market footprint. This makes us a great fit for Smith & Wesson, a legendary company with an iconic brand[.]”
James Debney, Smith & Wesson President and CEO said, “Crimson Trace provides us with an exceptional opportunity to acquire a thriving company that is completely aligned with our strategy to become a leader in the market for shooting, hunting, and rugged outdoor enthusiasts. As the undisputed leader in the market for laser sighting products, Crimson Trace serves as an ideal platform for our new Electro-Optics Division.”
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Ruger has donated $4,000,000.00 to the NRA-ILA (Institute for Legislative Action), based on Ruger’s pledge to donate $2.00 for every new Ruger firearm sold between the 2015 and 2016 NRA Annual Meetings. Ruger called this the “2 Million Gun Challenge”.
Ruger met the challenge goal of selling two million new firearms, thereby generating a total donation of $4,000,000. Ruger CEO Mike Fifer and President Chris Killoy presented Chris Cox, NRA-ILA’s Executive Director, with a check for $4,000,000 at the 2016 NRA Annual Meetings in Louisville, Kentucky. Cox praised Ruger’s Challenge Program: “The funds raised from this program will help us in both our fight to protect America’s Second Amendment and our effort to educate voters and get them to the polls this crucial election year.”
During the challenge period, one of the largest distributors of Ruger firearms, Davidson’s / Gallery of Guns, also pledged to donate $1.00 for each new Ruger firearm sold through its distributorship. Davidson’s effort added more than $350,000 to the NRA-ILA cause.
Ruger 2 Million Gun Challenge Becomes 2.5 Million Gun Challenge
Both Ruger and Davidson’s have pledged to extend the challenge period through the end of October, to ensure continued support up until the election. Ruger hopes to sell another 500,000 new firearms (by the end of October 2016) with a $2.00 donation per gun. If Ruger meets its challenge, that would generate another $1 million in NRA-ILA donations, for a total of $5,000,000 for the 2015-2016 period.
When the NRA and CMP issued new rules allowing the use of 4.5X optics for Service Rifles, some asked: “will scopes really make a difference?”. The answer is a resounding “Yes”, based on match results just in from Camp Perry. In the prestigious National President’s 100 Match fired July 25th, the first-, second-, and third-place finishers all had scopes. Keith Stephens won the match, SFC Evan Hess took second, and Hugh Reich finished third — an all-optics Podium. Both winner Keith Stephens and third-place Hugh Reich were running March 1-4.5x24mm scopes on their rifles. And there were many other optics users among the Top 20 competitors in the President’s 100 Finals. (The President’s 100 Match concludes with a single 10-round shoot-off at 600 yards, fired by the best 20 shooters from the prelims.)
The March 1-4.5x24mm scope was designed expressly for Service Rifle competition and tactical applications (it will focus down to 10 yards). This first-focal-plane optic features 1/4″ MOA clicks and optimal eye relief for AR-type rifles. March’s optics experts tell us: “This scope was specifically designed for the Service Rifle match shooter. Oversized tactical turrets allow for easy windage and elevation adjustments. High-quality ED (low distortion) lenses provide superior image resolution”. Current retail price for this scope is $2338.00 from Bullets.com.
That is a significant investment to be sure. But if you asked President’s 100 Match Winner Keith Stephens, he’d probably tell you his March 1-4.5x24mm scope was worth every penny…
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Did you know that American women are the fastest-growing segment of gun owners? Whether it’s for self-protection, hunting, or target shooting, women are showing more interest than ever in owning firearms. Moreover, women are taking steps to train and educate themselves, and to get involved in hunting, recreational shooting, and firearms competition. This is now a significant trend — women are becoming an important and vital part of the shooting community. Nearly one-quarter (23%) of American women now own at least one firearm.
The numbers of women participating in the shooting sports has grown dramatically in recent years. in fact, in the decade from 2001 to 2010, the number of female target shooters has risen 43.5%:
What is the most-used piece of equipment on this editor’s reloading bench? No it’s not my Rock-Chucker press, or even my calipers. The one item in near-constant use is a small, folding magnifying glass. Mine folds into a square case and offers 4X viewing with an 8X bifocal insert. With this handy tool I can inspect case mouths for burrs, check primer pockets, inspect meplats, and look for flaws on bullet jackets. I also use the magnifier to see rifling marks on bullets seated into the rifling, or check my bolt for galling. The number of uses is nearly endless. I keep one magnifier at my reloading bench and another in my range kit.
Folding magnifiers are so handy yet inexpensive that you should own a couple spares (including one in the range box). I bought my magnifier in a book-store, but you can also find them on the web at FoldingMagnifier.com and WidgetSupply.com starting at just $1.95. To see the finest details, Widget Supply offers a powerful 9X/18X slide-out magnifier with a built-in, battery-powered LED light. With that gadget, you can easily see any minute flaws in your barrel crowns. That’s important because crown damage can cause hard-to-diagnose accuracy issues. We’ve known guys who spend weeks tinkering with loads, when the real problem was a worn-out or damaged crown.
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At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. Amazon — Caldwell Long Range Target Camera System, $367.70
Forum members have purchased this Caldwell Target Cam System and they’ve found that it works reliably, providing a clear signal to any WiFi-enabled mobile device (smartphone, iPad, Laptop). One member specifically tested the unit at 1000 yards and it functioned fine. NOTE: This system does NOT have a zoom camera lens, so you need to position the camera within 10 yards or so of the target. But if you place it to the side a bit, this shouldn’t be a problem. This system comes with a nice, fitted carrying case that holds camera, transceivers, antennas, and stands. You get a very capable system for under $370.00 (Amazon price includes free shipping for Prime members). You can also get this system from Midsouth for $357.02 (shipping extra).
This video shows system set-up and actual Target Cam output on a WiFi-enabled tablet:
This is a totally new kind of hearing protection. Walker’s Razor-X and Razor-XV operate like electronic muffs — allowing you to hear commands and conversations while still blocking gunshots and other loud noises. The Razor-X combines a collar unit (containing the electronics) with retractable, foam-tipped ear buds. Unlike conventional earmuffs, the Razor-X system doesn’t interfere with your cheek weld. The patent-pending earbuds allow the user to be in loud environments without damaging their hearing, providing an impressive 31dB of noise reduction.
The kit includes two different styles of noise-reducing foam tips (in various sizes) to ensure a good fit for maximum noise reduction. The Razor-X is equipped with an auto-shut off after 4 to 6 hours. An AC wall adapter with USB port and a one-meter micro USB cord is provided.
TECH NOTE: Grafs.com shows a 29dB NRR in the product title. However, the manufacturer (and all other retailers) list a 31dB Noise Reduction Rating for the Razor-X and Razor-XV.
Here’s a super deal on a premium Tactical spotter package. Right now you can get a Leupold MK4 TMR 12-40x60mm spotting scope, PLUS a Delta-Point Pro 2.5 MOA Red-dot (for quick aiming), PLUS a Badger SLICK mount for under $1500.00. The Leupold MK4 12-40 spotter sells for $1399.00 by itself elsewhere. So this is like getting the Delta-Point and SLICK mount for $100.00 (or free — read about $1400 special below). CLICK HERE for Package Deal.
The unique SLICK mount is definitely worth having. This lets you add a laser rangefinder or other accessory and have the LRF aligned (collimated) perfectly with your spotting scope.
Jason tells us: “This is the best value I have seen on gear in a long time. On top of that, we are offering AccurateShooter.com readers a FURTHER discount to $1400 shipped for pre-ordering (pre-payment required)”. NOTE: to get the Special $1400.00 Pre-Order price, call EuroOptic at (570) 368-3920 and ask for Jason Baney.
4. Sportsmans Outdoor — Ruger American Predator, $359.99
Here’s a nice little 6.5 Creedmoor rifle from Ruger with good features at a very attractive price, just $359.99. This Predator model features a heavier-contour 22″, 1:8″-twist barrel threaded 5/8″-24 at the muzzle for brake or suppressor. The action, which features a 70° three-lug bolt, and Picatinny-style scope rail, sits in an aluminum bedding block. The trigger is crisp and adjusts down to 3 pounds. The 6.5 Creedmoor chambering is well-suited for both hunting and tactical/practical games. The rifle weighs 6.5 pounds without optic. For real tactical work you’ll want to replace the stock — but with only $360 into the gun you can easily afford a better stock/chassis.
5. MidwayUSA — Magpul 700 Black Stock, $219.99 on Sale
The new Magpul Remington 700 Hunter Stock offers an aluminum bedding block, plus adjustable length of pull and comb height. Compatible with all Remington 700 Short Actions, this stock requires no bedding and is a true “drop-in” solution. Also available (separately) is Magpul’s Bolt Action Magazine Well, which allows the rifle to be used with detachable box magazines without the need for custom inletting. NOTE: to see the $219.99 Sale price, you must select the black version in your Midway USA Shopping Cart. This price includes stock only; magazine and and bottom metal are NOT included.
Free Floating: Free-floats Remington barrels including aftermarket profiles up to a Medium Palma
Bottom Metal: Compatible with all stock Remington bottom metal
Weight: 2.9 lbs without action and bottom metal
6. Natchez Shooters Supply — 325 Rounds .22 LR Ammo, $22.99
This Federal .22 LR ammo is just 7 cents per round — the kind of pricing on bulk rimfire ammo we used to see in the “good old days”. Act quickly, this Federal .22 LR Ammo deal won’t last long. Also, note that seller Natchez has a 2-piece maximum order per day.” So you may order two boxes per day, which will total 650 rounds. The bullets are 40 grains, solid lead.
If you have brass or small parts to clean an ultrasonic cleaning machine really comes in handy. This Lyman machine was a good deal at $69.99 before. Now it is an awesome deal at $49.99 from Cabela’s. Plus you may even be able to get it for less. One buyer said you can get this item for $44.99 including shipping if you use code “16CAVE” at check-out. Worth a try.
8. Natchez — Hornady 22-Cal Varmint Bullets, $9.99 Per 100
Headed out for a varmint safari soon? Need inexpensive bullets for your .223 Rem or 22-250? Then check out this deal on Hornady 55-grainers from Natchez. Get 100 Soft Point .224-Caliber FB bullets for just $9.99. At that price, it doesn’t hurt so much when you shoot 1000+ rounds over a weekend. With good expansion, these bullets work great on prairie dogs and other small critters. Note: These sale bullets ship in a bag, not the box as shown.
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Keith Stephens won the prestigious 2016 President’s 100 Match at Camp Perry, as well as the Alice Bull Trophy for the highest-scoring civilian.
Our friend Dennis Santiago is at Camp Perry, where today (25 July) he is shooting the National President’s 100 Rifle Match — a competition steeped in history. First fired in 1878, this match was incorporated into the National Match program in 1903. The President’s Match was modeled after the famous British Queen’s Prize Match. Originally, the Match winner received a letter of congratulations from the President of the United States.
In the President’s Rifle Match, all competitors fire 10 shots standing, 10 shots rapid prone, and 10 shots prone slow fire to determine who makes the President’s 100 list. The top 20 shooters then advance to a final where they fire a 10-shot stage at 600 yards. This 20-marksman Finals Shoot-off now concludes the President’s Rifle Match.
Origins of the President’s Match
The President’s Match originated in 1878 as the American Military Rifle Championship Match. In 1884, the name was changed to the President’s Match for the Military Rifle Championship of the United States. It was fired at Creedmoor, New York until 1891. In 1895, it was reintroduced at Sea Girt, New Jersey. Today, the match is held at Camp Perry, Ohio.
The President’s Match was patterned after an event for British Volunteers called the Queen’s Match. That British competition was started in 1860 by Queen Victoria and the NRA of Great Britain to increase the ability of Britain’s marksmen following the Crimean War.
The tradition of making a letter from the President of the United States the first prize began in 1904 when President Theodore Roosevelt personally wrote a letter of congratulations to the winner, Private Howard Gensch of the New Jersey National Guard.
After a hiatus in the 1930s and 1940s, The President’s Match was reinstated in 1957 at the National Matches as “The President’s Hundred”. The 100 top-scoring competitors in the President’s Match are singled out for special recognition.
Tumblers and walnut/corncob media are old school. These days many shooters prefer processing brass rapidly with an ultrasonic cleaning machine. When used with the proper solution, a good ultrasonic cleaning machine can quickly remove remove dust, carbon, oil, and powder residue from your cartridge brass. The ultrasonic process will clean the inside of the cases, and even the primer pockets. Tumbling works well too, but for really dirty brass, ultrasonic cleaning may be a wise choice.
Our friend Gavin Gear recently put an RCBS Ultrasonic cleaning machine through its paces using RCBS Ultrasonic Case Cleaning Solution (RCBS #87058). To provide a real challenge, Gavin used some very dull and greasy milsurp brass: “I bought a huge lot of military once-fired 7.52x51mm brass (fired in a machine gun) that I’ve been slowly prepping for my DPMS LR-308B AR-10 style rifle. Some of this brass was fully prepped (sized/de-primed, trimmed, case mouths chamfered, primer pockets reamed) but it was gunked up with lube and looking dingy.”
UltimateReloader.com Case Cleaning Video (7.5 minutes):
Gavin describes the cleaning exercise step-by-step on UltimateReloader.com. Read Gavin’s Cartridge Cleaning Article to learn how he mixed the solution, activated the heater, and cycled the machine for 30 minutes. As you can see in the video above, the results were impressive. If you have never cleaned brass with ultrasound before, you should definitely watch Gavin’s 7.5-minute video — it provides many useful tips and shows the cleaning operation in progress from start to finish.
The RCBS ultrasonic cleaning machine features a large 3-liter capacity, 60 watt transducer, and 100 watt ceramic heater. The RCBS ultrasonic machine can be found under $140.00, and this unit qualifies for RCBS Rebates ($10 off $50 purchase or $75 off combined $300.00 purchase). RCBS also sells 32 oz. bottles of cleaning concentrate that will make up to 10 gallons of Ultrasonic Solution.
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Extreme Long Range — 2477 Yards
Notably, two Applied Ballistics team shooters made hits at 2477 yards. Just how far is that? Take a look at the photo above — that shows the location of the 2477-yard target with the firing line in the far distance. Now THAT is truly long range!
By Paul Phillips
I wanted to share a video that I made. This was from the King of 2 Miles event held recently in Raton, New Mexico. I was fortunate enough to be apart of an amazing team with Bryan Litz and Mitchell Fitzpatrick. We had some awesome sponsors: Berger Bullets, Nightforce Optics, McMillan Group International, Lethal Precision Arms LLC and Applied Ballistics LLC. Team Applied Ballistics took First, Second, and Fourth places out of 38 teams in this competition. Our Team highlight was working together to make first-round hits on a 24×36 inch plate at 1.4 miles. With me as coach, both Mitchell and Bryan made their first-round hits at 1.4 miles (2477 yards to be exact).
Video Shows Team Accomplishing Hits at 2477 Yards in Raton, NM
This event has been a personal goal of mine for a long time and I wanted to thank Bryan Litz and Mitchell Fitzpatrick for having me on the team. I call them quiet professionals. I also wanted to thank Kelly McMillan for sponsoring our team and being involved. Kelly has been an amazing sponsor and advocate for shooting sports and providing stocks and rifles for our military snipers for the past 40 years. I can’t forget to thank Ian Klemm for loaning me his Vortex Spotting scope with the MOA milling reticle. It worked great and was very fast to make corrections along with good glass.
Mitchell Fitzpatrick won the KO2M finals to earn the title “King of Two Miles”. He had a dominant performance shooting a .375 Lethal Precision Arms LLC rifle loaded with prototype solid 400gr Berger bullets. Mitchell built this rifle himself using a McMillan A5 Super Mag stock. Note: Berger has no current plans to market this .375-caliber bullet — it is still in the prototype stage.
Editor: Paul Phillips asked to make a special dedication, remembering a family member: “My brother Daniel Phillips passed away with brain cancer last year and this event was one that he wanted to video for me. I know he is smiling in heaven.”
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by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box
This cartridge was introduced by Winchester in 1935 in their model 54 rifle. A year later, it was added as a standard cartridge in the model 70. What might not be common knowledge to some reloaders is that the prototype for the Swift was developed in 1934-35 by Grosvenor Wotkyns by necking down the 250 Savage case, but in the end, Winchester chose the 6mm Lee Navy case for the foundation for this cartridge.
This cartridge was far ahead of its time and for that reason it received a lot of bad press. We’ve all read the horror stories through the years. Many of those stories were just simply repeated from previous articles even the wording was just slightly different. So how bad was the Swift? Let’s take a deeper look.
Some of the early Swifts had soft barrel steel and some of the rare ones even had barrels that were .223 in bore size. This stemmed from the fact that the .22 Hornets prior to the end of World War II were .223 in bore size and some of these barrels were chambered in the Swift. It was rumored that the Swift peaked in pressure far too quick. I’ll bet they did with a turkey extra full choke barrel.
Burn rates of powders were limited at that time as well, so the Swift was limited in its true ability due to that. It was almost like building a funny car for drag racing when only kerosene was available.
One of the longest lasting black eyes was that it shot barrels out so fast. If you get the barrel branding iron hot and fail to clean it often this can happen. Common sense will go a long ways here. Keep the barrel as cool as you can and properly clean it every fifteen rounds or less will go a long way to improving accuracy life of a Swift.
So what is the real truth about this cartridge? I’m glad you ask. I’ve been shooting the .220 Swift for over 43 years now. It is one of the best varmint cartridges I’ve ever owned. It is not hard to load for, it doesn’t suddenly peak in pressure and it isn’t the barrel burner that you’ve heard. Hodgdon powders once reported a Remington 40-X with over 3,000 rounds of full power loads averaged .344” for five, 5-shot groups. My findings have been the same. It isn’t as hard on barrels as it has been made out to be.
I’ve also read that down loading it slightly will help in barrel life. This is true, but if you buy a thoroughbred you want him to run. Barrels are threaded on the end for a reason. If you have enough fun to shoot out a Swift barrel, just rebarrel it.
The bottom line is enjoy the .220 Swift for what it was meant to be. The popularity of the Swift has slipped in the last twenty years and few factory rifles are now available in this caliber. There is no reason for this and I know the Swift will always have a strong and loyal following.
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